Hey again book lovers!!
Here is the second post of the day!
Sylvain Reynard, the author of the Gabriel’s Inferno series and the Florentine series kindly wrote an outtake from the main characters in the Florentine series, William and Raven, so I could share it here with you!!
Thank you so much for this, Sylvain!! I’m sure all your fans appreciate it as much as I do!! ❤
William, Prince of Florence
We’d missed St. Valentine’s Day.
I first met Raven in May and soon after, she captured my heart. Our future was uncertain, threatened by enemies both inside and outside the city of Florence, where I am Prince. For these reasons, I determined to live each moment with her to the fullest. I would not wait until February for a grand display of my affection.
Raven entered our bedroom at the end of a long day working at the Uffizi Gallery. I noticed she was leaning heavily on her cane, which meant she was tired. No doubt her disabled leg was causing her pain.
“Welcome.” I bowed, speaking in English because she’d taken a shine to my Oxonian accent.
She smiled, like the rising of the sun. Then she stopped short, taking in the changes I’d made.
I’d positioned a high backed chair at the foot of our bed, like a throne. Before it, I ‘d placed a silver basin with steaming water, a pile of clean towels and a few other accoutrements.
She limped toward me, curious. “What’s this?”
“A surprise. Come.” I bent and kissed her firmly on the mouth – a greeting. I put her cane aside and escorted her to the throne. Once she was seated, I pulled out a low stool and sat at her feet.
“I don’t understand.” She smoothed her black hair behind her ears and fixed her green eyes on me.
I’d already lost myself in their depths. Raven’s eyes mirrored her soul and were always full of feeling, courage, and compassion. If I’d had breath, she would have stolen it from me.
“This is a gift.” I placed my hand on her knee, slipping a thumb under the hem of her dress. She shivered in reaction, for my vampyre skin was cool.
“Relax,” I whispered.
I draped a towel over my lap and lifted one of her feet, carefully unstrapping her shoe and removing it. I repeated the same procedure with her other foot, allowing myself the luxury of touching her skin, trailing up the back of her calf.
She sighed, a hazy look on her face.
I fought back a smile.
I placed her feet in the silver bowl, which was filled with warm, soapy water. The scent of roses lifted.
“Too warm?” My eyes sought hers. Like all vampyres, I had difficulty sensing temperature.
She shook her head. “It’s perfect.”
She leaned forward and placed a hand on my shoulder. “Am I dirty?”
I blinked. “Don’t you know the story of Mary Magdalene? Washing Jesus’ feet with her tears? Drying his feet with her hair?”
She sat back. “Is that what this is?”
“My hair isn’t long enough to dry your feet.” I winked at her and she laughed.
I liked the sound of her laughter. I adored it.
“You’re washing my feet,” she remarked, her voice filled with wonder. “I’m not a Christ figure, William.”
“How do human beings express love?”
“They write poems. They kiss. They have sex.” She smiled knowingly.
“Love and lust can be confused.”
“Washing feet can’t be confused with lust.” I squeezed her ankle.
Her heart skipped a beat.
I looked in the direction of her heart, listening to the rhythm until it resumed its normal pace.
Her right foot was part of her disability and it turned unfortunately to the side. I cupped water with my hand and poured it over her foot, using my fingers to smooth over the flesh.
“You can see it.” She gestured to her leg.
“Yes.” I withdrew her feet from the basin and rested them on my lap.
Our eyes met and she looked away.
I took my time, rubbing the cotton towels gently over her skin.
“It doesn’t matter to you, does it?” Her green eyes darted to her injured leg.
“It troubles me because it troubles you.” I leaned over and pressed my lips to the top of her foot. “But because it’s part of you, I embrace it. Fully.”
Raven inhaled deeply. A small droplet escaped the corner of her eye, coursing down her cheek.
I reached up to catch the tear with my sleeve.
She took my hand and kissed it, closing her eyes and pressing my palm to the side of her face.
I pulled her into my arms and she buried her face in my neck. I felt the wetness from her eyes and went still as she took her long, black hair and dried her tears from my skin.
She’d given me many gifts in our time together, but the greatest gift was her love.
“Thank you, Cassita,” I whispered, pressing her to my heart.
Here are the links to the books in the Florentine series:
Stay tuned for more special posts in honor of Valentine’s Day!!!